Thales will partner with One Silicon Chip Photonics (OSCP) on autonomous rail technology, testing an optical inertial sensor system on an autonomous train platform.
The partnership is supported by the ENCQOR 5G program.
“The partnership with Thales and OSCP will allow autonomous rail technologies to be further enhanced, enabling smarter, safer, greener and more advanced systems to be developed here in Canada,” said Walter Kinio, VP of Research and Innovation at Thales. “We are delighted to partner with OSCP on this exciting project, and Thales will continue to be a strong supporter of the ENCQOR program.”
Thales provides access for small to medium enterprises to display their innovations and 5G technologies alongside industry leaders.
According to the Thales, the goal of the partnership is to develop sensing and navigation capabilities that can be deployed in semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles in urban and mainline rail environments.
“We are proud to partner with such a respected IMU market leader as Thales, with their world-class expertise in autonomous train positioning,” said Kazem Zandi, CEO of OSCP. “Our proprietary Photonics Integrated Circuits (PIC)-based IMU technology will be demonstrated on a Thales platform as a more accurate lower cost alternative to existing market solutions. We are grateful for the generous support of ENCQOR to enable potential collaborations such as this for Quebec-based companies.”
Thales and OSCP will build an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) prototype. It will be tested onboard the Thales Train Autonomy Platform.
The embedded IMU will allow Thales to track the location of the autonomous train platform when combined with 5G capabilities. It will also track the location when operating in complex zones where global navigation satellite systems cannot provide proper performance for navigation.
The IMU system will be tested in a field environment over the next nine months. The project will conclude with a demonstration at the York-Durham Heritage Railway test site, in Uxbridge, Ontario.
“ENCQOR is very happy to support this partnership between Thales and OSCP through its state-of-the-art test bed and 5G network,” said Pierre Boucher, general manager of ENCQOR. “This project is a very good example of a collaborative approach to ensure the accelerated development of a new, very promising solution. The optical inertial measurement unit jointly developed by Thales and OSCP is expected to have a significant impact in the deployment of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles used in public transport and the rail sector.”